Ahh, the year of the desktop, its a long year, been running for at least 6 now
Linux has been ready for my desktop since 2000, and like anything new I didn't really like it when I started. Combersome, clunky, where are the .exe's? why can't I install stuff as me, who / what the hell is _root_, stupid name. Where is the software, what are the names, I don't get it etc etc
This will always happen when going from apples to oranges, they are fruit sure, but you don't just bite into an orange straight away, it tastes foul!
If your question is, can a distro step up to the plate and be as near as possible an interface clone to winxp, then I think its probably linspire. This is what they set out to do and stated their case.
Problem with linspire is it actually gets reasonably close to its goal, but that means that many of the linux users from the last few years are not interested because they use _linux_ not a _windows clone_. This means that the word of mouth thing does not happen, the slightly techy few do not biggup linspire to the non-techy massess, unlike ubuntu. Ubuntu isn't in the same mould as linspire, but has traction amongst computer literate people. But it _might_ not quite hit the spot for average joe, although dapper is excellent.
Linspire really needed to get grass roots support before launching on the main stage, to help it shout, to raise its voice, but they did not do that, which is why IMHO 5.0 did not hit it quite so big as it should.
Roll forward a year from 5.0, and linspsire have formed some sort of OS community panel to try and get that interaction and turn non-believers around, they've hired a reasonably well known beardy bloke
to help front this thing. Hired is the wrong word, got on board is better. Then they released freespire / soon to release freespire.
The question is, was it too late. Can they gain enough momentum within techy peops, so when vista is released and peoples are like "ooh, its expensive and I need a new pc, mmm not sure" then enough of their techy mates will say "try freespire".
I've left out the corporate side, but agiain, that has a massive impact, as pre-installed software won windows a lot of market share. But this seems to be down to RHEL and SLED, although with ubuntu's 5 year commitment to support, it may appear as standard on Dell machines